2020 May 27


University of Latvia, Centre of Lithuanian Studies in the Department of Latvian and Baltic Studies

The Centre of Lithuanian Studies of the University of Latvia, established in 1999, runs the following study programmes: a Bachelor’s degree programme in Baltic Studies, a Master’s degree programme in Baltic Studies. This is the first academic center for studies and research in Latvia. The idea itself has been conceived since the revival. The core activity of the Centre of Lithuanian Studies is related to the teaching of disciplines related to Lithuanian studies at the University of Latvia and coordination thereof in other higher education institutions in Latvia.

From 1999 to 2017, the Centre of Lithuanian Studies was headed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Laimutė Balodė, who received the first interstate Balts Fellowship for activities in Lithuanian Studies in 2018. Since 2000, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Edmundas Trumpa has worked in the center and since 2018 he has been the Head of the Centre. Besides, Monika Balodė, Jolanta Naglė, Kristiāna Tīlika worked as lecturers in the center during various periods.

During 2006-2016, Bachelor and Master’s degrees programmes in Baltic Studies at the University of Latvia successfully incorporated the module of Baltic Studies: separate groups of students, who specialise in more intense studies of Lithuanian grammar and spoken language (up to level B1), Lithuanian literature, folklore, Lithuanian history, Lithuanian and Latvian contrastive grammar, and translation theory, were formed. After removal of the module of Lithuanian Studies in 2016, only three courses of Lithuanian (up to A2-B1 level) and a course of Lithuanian Literature remained, all of which became mandatory for all students of Baltic Studies at bachelor level. At the moment, up to 80 students study Lithuanian at different levels. The Centre staff have participated in many local and international projects: “Interactive Map of Prussia”, “Atlas of the Polish Language of Lithuania”, “Literary Translation Workshops for students of Baltic Studies”, “Promoting cooperation between foreign centers of Baltic Studies and Lithuanian higher education institutions”.

Together with students, the Centre of Lithuanian Studies participates in joint scientific expeditions (e.g. research on border dialects). Since 2017, Lithuanian poetry and prose workshops have been co-organised with the Lithuanian Writers’ Union that have revealed a number of talented creative translators of works by B. Jonuškaitė, V. Braziūnas, A. Balbierius.
The Centre of Lithuanian Studies collects the latest scientific literature on Lithuanian Studies, Lithuanian press, and has a library of translations for mutual exchange. One of the former masters in Lithuanian Studies has become a PhD (the dissertation is on the Lithuanian-Latvian Corpus) and two students have started doctoral studies (the topics of their research are relations between Lithuanian and Latvian dramaturgy; and Lithuanian-spoken areas in Latvia). Seven students of Lithuanian Studies of the University of Latvia have received the Lithuanian State Kazimieras Būga Scholarship. Every year, a significant number of students are sent to study in Lithuania (Vilnius University, Vytautas Magnus University, Klaipėda University), e.g. in 2019, 27 students of Baltic Studies were sent for one semester, summer courses and a camp. The Centre of Lithuanian Studies facilitates visits of Lithuanian professors to the University of Latvia to deliver lectures; the Centre has organized over several dozens of such lectures during the two decades of its existence.

Humboldt University of Berlin, Faculty of Languages and Literature, the Centre of Comparative-Historical Linguistics of the Institute of German Language and Linguistics

The Centre of Lithuanian Studies of Humboldt University started its activities when Professor W. Hock took his position at the Institute of German Language and Linguistics. Lithuanian studies are related to Germanic studies. The following theoretical courses are taught: Introduction to Lithuanian, and Introduction to the Baltic Languages. The Department of Historical-Comparative Linguistics is involved in research activity. The most important project is the Etymological Dictionary of the Old Lithuanian (Hock, Wolfgang, et al.: Altlitauisches etymologisches Wörterbuch (ALEW). Hamburg: baar, 2015), which was finished in 2013. The six-year-long project, funded by the German Research Foundation, involved six specialists of Baltic Studies and Indo-European Studies, whose main focus of the research is on the Baltic Studies. A significant number of students were involved in the project and thus gained important experience in working with the data of Old Lithuanian, which could be used in their bachelor and master’s thesis. Etymological Dictionary of the Old Lithuanian was published in 2015.

Regular lectures and seminars on Baltic Studies take place in the framework of the study programme in historical linguistics. The programme allows students to deepen their knowledge of Baltic Studies on their own initiative. A significant number of students have used this possibility as they write papers and bachelor’s or master’s thesis on Baltic Studies, in particular on Lithuanian Studies. However, in this way they do not become specialists in Baltic Studies.

In 2014, an international scientific conference was organised to celebrate Kristijonas Donelaitis’ anniversary. The project “Critical Edition of Old Lithuanian Short Texts from the Beginning of Tradition until 1700” (2019-2022) is currently in progress. The project will focus on the philological and linguistic analysis of all known short texts (up to 1000 words). Lists of all words and their forms, which form the basis of the historical grammar of the Old Lithuanian language, will be provided. Moreover, since September 2012, Lithuanian summer schools have been organised annually at Humboldt University, and two weeks of intensive Lithuanian language courses are organised in cooperation with Vilnius University as part of the project to promote cooperation between foreign centers of Baltic Studies and Lithuanian higher education institutions.

Goethe University, Frankfurt am Mein, Faculty of Linguistics and Culture Studies, Institute of Empirical Linguistics

The Institute of Empirical Linguistics in Frankfurt am Main has a programme of Baltic Studies. Professor Jolanta Gelumbeckaitė is the head of the programme, whereas Dr. Vaida Našlėnaitė Eberhardt teaches the Lithuanian language.

The Institute of Empirical Linguistics of Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, has taught the Baltic languages since 2005, and since 2015 has launched a regular Bachelor degree programme of Baltic Studies integrated into empirical linguistics studies.

Students who have chosen Baltic Studies as major or minor studies are provided with general courses in linguistics and theoretical courses in Baltic linguistics, traditionally starting with Introduction into Baltic linguistics, followed by the Old Lithuanian, Modern Lithuanian and Latvian, textology, accentology, morphology, lexicon, syntax, dialectology, and Prussian. Teachers from Lithuanian higher education institutions are invited to read specific courses when needed.

Research on Baltic Studies in Frankfurt focuses on the Old Lithuanian period and the development of a reference corpus of the Old Lithuanian language: SLIEKKAS, Interactive Map of Prussia, CorDon.

In cooperation with the University of Göttingen project “Ancient Indo-European Languages for the 21st Century” (director Prof. Dr. Götz Keydana) 12 lectures on the Old Lithuanian language were video recorded (Prof. Jolanta Gelumbeckaitė and Professor Jurgis Pakerys). Based on the lectures a section for “A Handbook of Ancient Indo-European Grammars” (Cambridge University Press) is being drafted.

Specialists of Baltic Studies in Frankfurt cooperate intensively with universities of Vilnius, Pisa, Prague, Stockholm, and Tallinn, and support exchange of students and teachers through the Erasmus+ programme. Four students from the Institute of Empirical Linguistics have already won the Lithuanian State Kazimieras Būga Scholarship (Ministry of Education, Science and Sport). The second stage of the project is devoted to promotion of cooperation between foreign centres of Baltic Studies and Lithuanian higher education institutions to secure the position of a lecturer of the Lithuanian language at the Institute of Empirical Linguistics, which allows students to study Lithuanian at four levels of proficiency. During the first stage of the project “Lithuania here and there: Language, Science, Culture and Society”, an open-access online interactive Lithuanian course (level I-II) for German-speaking students “Regina Juodišiūtė, Elvyra Petrašiūnienė. Lithuanian Language Course. Part I: Lithuanian Language Course. Part II” was developed in 2012-2014. In 2015, based on this course, a pilot version of an educational electronic open access dictionary of Lithuanian-German “LiDeW” was developed.

University of Warsaw, the Department of General Linguistics, East Asian Comparative Linguistics and Baltic Studies

Although the history of Baltic Studies at the University of Warsaw is quite long and specialisation in Lithuanian Studies was opened at the Faculty of Polish Studies of the University of Warsaw in 1988, the Baltic Studies in Warsaw as an institution originated in 1990, when the Department of Baltic Philology was set up at the Faculty of Polish Studies of the University of Warsaw (headed by Prof. Habil. Dr. Wojciech Smoczyński). In 1994, the Department of Baltic Philology was merged with the Department of General Linguistics, thus creating the Department of General Linguistics and Baltic Studies headed by Prof. Habil. Dr. Jadwiga Sambor, and subsequently by Prof. Habil. Dr. Romuald Huszcza and Prof. Habil. Dr. Jadwiga Linde-Usiekniewicz. Due to restructuration, in 2009 the Department was reorganised into Department of General Linguistics, East Asian Comparative Linguistics and Baltic Studies (first it was headed by Prof. Habil. Dr. Axel Holvoet, next by Prof. Habil. Dr. Romuald Huszcza); subsequently a division of Baltic Studies was created, first headed by Dr. Ana Romančuk in 2009-2013, by Dr. Inesa Szulska in 2013-2014, and since 2014 – by Dr. Joanna Tabor.

Students have been enrolled into the Baltic Studies since 1995. Initially, it was an integrated master’s degree; however, since 2007 students have been enrolled into I cycle studies and since 2010 – to II cycle studies. In 2012, study programmes were modified according to the requirements of the National Qualifications Foundations. The Department has published the following magazines and periodicals: “Linguistica Baltica” (an international annual journal of linguistics, 1992-2002), “Baltic Linguistics” (an international annual journal of linguistics, since 2010), “Baltica Varsoviensia” (monographs and articles, since 1998), “Prace Bałtystyczne. Język, literatura, kultura” (collections of articles, since 2003). Baltic Studies (field of study: Baltic Philology, specialisation: Lithuanian and Latvian Studies) are offered by the Faculty of Polish Studies at the University of Warsaw. The first students were enrolled into the Baltic Studies specialisation in 1995 and several hundred specialists in Lithuanian and Latvian Philology have graduated from the Department ever since. The Baltic Studies in Warsaw is one of two academic institutions in Poland carrying out two-cycle studies in this field. The programme of Baltic Studies includes, first, the intensive basic teaching of Lithuanian and Latvian languages; Lithuanian is taught from the first course of a cycle I and Latvian are taught from the second course. In cycle I, students learn Lithuanian up to level B2+ and Latvian up to level B1. Students in study cycle II achieve level C2 of Lithuanian language proficiency and level C1 of Latvian language proficiency. In addition to these two very interesting and rare languages, future specialists of Baltic Studies study about the history, literature, and culture of Lithuania and Latvia, and learn the arts of translation and many other general subjects necessary for philologists, such as cultural anthropology, history of philosophy, general linguistics or methodology of teaching foreign languages. Every year, several students receive scholarships (under the Government, Erasmus, and other programmes) and can go to the universities of Vilnius and Riga. The Department is often visited by Lithuanian and Latvian lecturers (e.g. in the framework of the project to promote cooperation between Foreign Centres of Baltic Studies and Lithuanian higher education institutions), who share their knowledge with students, take part in meetings and conduct seminars. The staff of the Unit of Baltic Studies carry out individual research in the field of literature and linguistics, and take active participation in translation activities: they translate Lithuanian fiction and scientific texts into Polish, participate in translation workshops and seminars (e.g. Kolegium Europy Wschodniej in Wroclaw or Borderland Foundation in Krasnagruda), work on the anthology of Lithuanian poetry under the joint Lithuanian-Polish PEN Club project, and organise meetings in Warsaw with Lithuanian poets at the ‘Poetry Spring’ festival.

Adom Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Department of Baltic Studies

The Department of Baltic Studies is a well-established center of Lithuanian (Baltic) studies and carries out Lithuanian studies at all stages. Professor Ewa Stryczyńska-Hodyl, the Head of the current Unit of Baltic Studies, is the first graduate of the programme of Lithuanian Studies, a doctor and a professor. Since 2008, the Unit, headed by Professor Nicole Nau, has organised international scientific conferences “Perspectives of Baltic Philology” and has published collections of articles. The Unit’s staff publish articles related to Lithuanian and Latvian dialectology, language history and grammar, folklore, literature and mythology, and habilitation works and books. In addition to Lithuanian, the Unit teaches other general (cultural) courses (Lithuanian history, Contemporary Lithuanian Culture, etc.).The Unit’s staff organise yearly events related to Lithuania, its culture, history, and the Lithuanian language (as part of such events as Researchers’ Night, Poznan Festival of Science and Art, the Multicultural Festival). The Unit of Baltic Studies is in contact with Lithuanian communities in Punskas, etc. and actively participates in cultural events in schools and gymnasiums at its own expense.